Rocky Mountain National Park Series – December 3rd Full Moon Hike

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – December 3rd Full Moon Hike

by Cory Dudley

Bask in the light of the full moon in Rocky Mountain National Park this Sunday 12/3.

What better a way to get into the holiday spirit! 

Photo Credit: NPS/Russell Smith

The Rocky Mountain Rangers lead Full Moon Walks in the winter months, the first one this coming Sunday. Groups leave from Beaver Meadows at 5 pm. Reservations are required and can be made in person or you can call the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at 970-586-1223. Maybe there will even be a little fresh snow from the system that passes through Sunday - fingers crossed!

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Stay Curious Video Series

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Stay Curious Video Series

by Cory Dudley

"I think that's what I like the best is understanding more about how things work, and what's living there, and how it interacts with all the other organisms in that system."

Erin Borgman 

The National Park Service's video series, Stay Curious, most recently selected and interviewed one of Rocky Mountain National Park's very own. Erin Borgman is an NPS Ecologist and Field Coordinator with the Rocky Mountain Inventory and Monitoring Division. In short, her job is to keep a close eye on the vital signs and overall 'health' of important streams and rivers within the park. These bodies of water are the most important resource to the park's habitat and wildlife inhabitants, making her mission a crucial one!

Check out the video below to learn how Erin began down the path of Ecology sciences and the advice she has for anyone else trying to discover their place in the world around them.

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Park Closures for Elk Protection

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Park Closures for Elk Protection

Closures to protect the elk during the annual bugling season are currently in effect throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park, Harbison Meadow and Holzwarth Meadow will all be closed through October 31st. In addition, fishing in the Fall River, Thompson River or Colorado River during the closure period is prohibited.

"The purpose of the closures is to prevent disturbance and harassment of elk during their fall mating period and to enhance visitor elk viewing opportunities," states Kyle Patterson, park spokeswoman.

The park reminds visitors that elk calling, shining headlights for better nighttime visibility and generally harassing the elk is not only prohibited but dangerous. The majority of issues are caused by people directly who get too closely to the elk, or "elk jams" due to so many viewers parked alongside the roads.

In order to enjoy the rutting season and visits to the mountains responsibly, maintain your distance!

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Finding Fall Colors This Weekendd

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Finding Fall Colors This Weekendd

Beginning in late August each year, the aspens in the highest parts of Rocky Mountain National Park embark on their annual transition of 'quaking'; a term use to describe the leave's behavior in the breeze and unique color changing process from green to brilliant golden yellows, oranges and reds.

(Video Credit: Colette Bordelon)

If you have yet to visit the park during the fall, you must add it to your to-do list! The hues painting the mountainside change with each passing day until mid to late September, accompanied by the elk's rutting season and migration down from the high country. Tourists, photographers and nearly everyone else believes the park is in it's prime during this time of year, though there are certain spots that are recommended above others if you're chasing colors....

Hidden Valley

Far from hidden, this popular spot is a favorite among wildlife enthusiasts as a place where elk gather in large numbers, backdropped by fiery colors. There are numerous viewing spots along US 34 on the SE facing hillsides. Have your cameras ready! Elk show up with little warning and you may miss the ideal opportunity if you're not prepared...

Glacier Gorge Trail

All the way up to Alberta Falls on Glacier Gorge Trail, you'll be snapping pictures and looking on in awe; this hike is a beautiful one. Aspens line the path and fallen leaves float along the creek, welcoming you with a flurry of color.

Bear Lake Road

This road runs parallel to the Glacier Creek and is worth the time it may take to travel all the way to the end. You'll begin at Moraine Park and will want to pull off the road any chance you get because every turn will offer a new and interesting view! If you'd prefer to hike or relax at an overlook, there are many opportunities along the way for that as well.

Twin Sisters

Because the trail head is located just outside of the park's boundary (approximately 6 miles from Estes Park), this hike is a favorite for those who prefer a more secluded experience. If you've brought your camera along, be sure to get an early start to the day for the best lighting. 

Fairview Curve

About 10,000 feet up on Trail Ridge Road you'll find the Fair Curve and spectacular views of the Mummy Range up to the north. You will have driven through the Kawuneeche Valley to reach this spot, so you can now appreciate the valley's color from above! 

Kawuneeche Valley

Argued by some as the most beautiful place in the park to photograph, you'll drive through 10 miles of Kawuneeche Valley along Trail Ridge Road between Grand Lake and the Timber Lake trail head. Give yourself ample time for stops on this route because it tends to be more lovely than one expects. 

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – The Beautiful Results of a Natural Disaster

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – The Beautiful Results of a Natural Disaster

There are spectacular reminders everywhere reminding us of nature's great power and all that it can do; and Rocky Mountain National Park has had it's fair share! Nature is constantly working to alter the park. whether it be over the course of a few hours or a few centuries. Below is one that you can see for yourself!

Alluvial Fan was created on July 15th, 1982, when Lawn Lake broke through a moraine that had held since the end of the last ice age. 29 million gallons of water were let loose, 3 lives were lost and in the end, Estes Park ended up beneath 6 feet of water. What remains of it today are giant boulders that were washed down with the flood, with sand and other debris spread out in it's wake.

If you visit, you can park in either of the lots that are right off the road. From there, explore along the rocks before heading to the east side, where you can get a better view from all sides. If you enjoy scrambling over the looks, be careful of loose ones and how slippery they can be. There are several paths that will take you deeper into the canyons, if you dare adventure further.

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Become a Park Podcaster!

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Become a Park Podcaster!

With more people, families and groups venturing into Rocky Mountain National Park than ever before, you may be wondering how park rangers, staff and volunteers do it...

How do they keep all the pieces in place?

What challenges do they face?

And how can I help?

Thanks to Miles Barger, a visual information specialist for Rocky Mountain National Park, you can now learn so much more about the park and all the people who look after it. Throughout his career in park services, he has been constantly reminded of the deep love and curiosity that visitors have for national parks and wild places - but it isn't just about the wilderness itself. When it comes to national parks, visitors develop the same feelings for the people that look after them! With that in mind, Barger and his coworker Hope Ozolins created a team and a structure for a brand new podcast called Rocky Mountain National Podcast.

Listeners will enjoy 10 episodes per season, each one an hour long. The first season's focus will be on different park personnel, starting with some of the most beloved to park visitors; rangers and other educational and interpretive program leaders. He discusses things like why they became involved in national parks, what they do within Rocky Mountain National Park and some of the unique knowledge they impart on others. Personal stories blend with park information, news & updates, and specific information on planning a trip to the park. 

"We are always looking for ways to reach other audiences and new tools to give people the information they want about the park," Kyle Patterson, spokesperson for RMNP, said.

100th Birthday RMNP birthday cake - Kyle Patterson

Barger hopes to continue evolving the podcast to include a mini-series within the main season; shorter segments that focus on something more specific, like a research project or a current concern. The first 4 episodes are out already - take a listen for yourself!

Ranger Program - Snowshoeing

Season 1, Episode 1: A Love of the Mountains with Kathy Brazelton

Join Kathy Brazelton, an East District Naturalist, in the Upper Beaver Meadows, as she shares her life as a ranger, ranger programs, various signs of spring and more.

Season 1, Episode 2Chillin' in the Alpine with Cynthia Langguth

​Ranger Cynthia Langguth teaches us about the interesting world of the alpine tundra. She'll teach about marmots, pika, ptarmigan and everything else in the land above the tree line... 

Season 1, Episode 3: Gettin' Wild on Rocky's West Side

Explore all that the West Side of Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer with rangers Maci MacPherson and Michele Simmons!

Season 1, Episode 4: With Kyle Patterson

What does the Public Affairs Officer for RMNP actually do? Join Kyle Patterson and explore what he does, day in and day out; sharing news and messages, dealing with current issues at the park, and even how you can help keep the park beautiful for generations to come.  

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Photography in the Park

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Photography in the Park

Erik Stensland, an Estes Park resident and photographer, visits Rocky Mountain National Park regularly to photograph all the beauty within; spring flowers, sunsets and waterfalls overflowing. Like many creative nature enthusiasts, Stensland prefers to wander outdoors in solitude.

"I just need silence to rethink things. It keeps me whole and sane. I need that time of personal reflection." - Erik Stensland 

Though you aren't going to become his best hiking buddy, Stensland is willing to share some of his wisdom when it comes to taking photographs while venturing through the park. And it's advice you'll want to take! 

Tip #1 - Timing is Everything

Aim to photograph your desired subject or area when the light is warm. If you can shoot within 15-20 minutes of sunrise or sunset, you'll be amazed by the results. More people prefer sunrise photos than sunset photos, due to the clarity during that time of day. Winds die down and urban activity slows significantly during the night, leaving a window of time just before and during sunrise that provides a more clean and clear atmosphere. 

Tip #2 - What Are You Shooting?

It's easy to become distracted by everything around you and before you know it, you've taken 300 photos in the first 15 minutes of your hike and you're late for that sunrise shot you'd planned on getting! Before you head out, be very clear about what the subject of your image is. Why did you come out today? What did you hope to photograph? What was the overall feeling you wanted to convey with this image? Focus on one clear subject and you'll hike home feeling triumphant. 

Tip #3 - Learn to Love Cloudy Days 

Sure, it may go against your nature to hope for clouds in the sky as you pack up for a day outside. But in Stensland's opinion, if there aren't clouds in the sky, it isn't worth going out with your camera in tow. "Clouds really create the emotion in the image", he says. Subjects such as waterfalls and shadowy forested areas benefit greatly from the diffused light that grey skies bring. Clouds truly are nature's softbox, so take advantage of overcast days!

He sells his images online and in various galleries in New Mexico and Colorado. If you're more of a social media guru, he shares images daily on his Facebook and Twitter with inspiring messages attached for you to enjoy (free of charge!) 

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – A Place to Meditate in Nature

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – A Place to Meditate in Nature

Wouldn't it be nice to have a place where people can come together and commit to learning about the world around them in thoughtful, sincere way? Sitting on 180 acres near Ward, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center welcomes participants from near and far to do just that!

“For me in this dark time, Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center will be a shining beacon I can trust. I see it offering what we most need: the inspired leadership of committed teachers, a wild mountain setting to awaken our own power and beauty, the ripening of a Sangha to grow a guiding vision for our people, and the strength to make it real.”  Joanna Macy, Ph.D Engaged Buddhist teacher

(Video Credit: Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center)

The land is composed of a private river, meadows and woodlands adjacent to the Arapahoe National Forest and mere miles from the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Their mission is to provide a space for low-cost meditation retreats and workshops, surrounded by and focused on nature. The scheduled programs that the group is most excited about are:

Open House Activity Day - July 16th - Join in for a full day filled with community, mindfulness and the beautiful nature that the center sits on. Families are welcome and the event is free, though donations are always appreciated.

Ecodharma Retreat with David Loy & Johann Robbins - August 4th through 13th - This meditation retreat encourages exploration into social consciousness and promoting caring, wisdom and compassion rather than anxiety and anger.

The center has no paid staff and runs solely with the help of many volunteers, giving their time and expertise to the cause. Click HERE to learn more about the team, their volunteers, and how you can become involved.



Rocky Mountain National Park staff was notified last Saturday night that an old culvert in Grand Ditch is leaking at the intersection of Lady Creek and Grand Ditch. The company who operates the Grand Ditch (Water Supply and Storage Company) have made temporary repairs to reduce the leakage and have opened head gates to reduce water flow. The additional water is being rerouted to the Kawuneeche Valley.

Needless to say, RMNP staff quickly began assessing any immediate and potential impacts to trails and bridges in the Kawuneeche Valley as a result.

The Colorado River Trail is flooded approximately 0.6 miles from the trailhead, just beyond the Red Mountain Junction. A sign cautioning conditions was posted at the trailhead, and the staff assures additional assessments are ongoing.

In addition, that was increased sediment movement near Shadow Mountain Reservoir, though it's unclear exactly how much earth was moved in the event.

Grand Ditch Road is currently closed to pedestrians, but there are no other closures in place at this time. Long Draw Road, which leads to this area from just outside RMNP, is closed this time of year - it is still set to open for the season in early July.



The staff and volunteers of Rocky Mountain National Park, do their best to provide park visitors with experiences of a lifetime. But they can't do it without you!     How can you help?
  • Take the Rocky Pledge (see below). You can read it aloud or to yourself, in the park or at home, alone or with friends. All we ask: read it thoughtfully and take it seriously.
  • Encourage your followers to protect Rocky. Share a photo of yourself taking the pledge, encircling something meaningful to you in your hands, or doing something to protect the park to your social media of choice and tag it #rockypledge. If you’re on Instagram, there’s a chance you’ll get hundreds of thousands of eyes on your photo—we’ll regularly repost our favorite #rockypledge shots!
  • Tell your friends and family: Take the Rocky Pledge! Visit to learn more.


“To preserve unimpaired for this and future generations the beauty, history, and wildness therein, I pledge to protect Rocky Mountain National Park.”

  • To prevent fire scars and human-caused fires, I pledge to never build a fire outside of a campground or picnic area fire ring.

  • To respect other visitors’ experiences, if I need to go but am not near a restroom, I pledge to leave no trace by stepping well away from the trail and water sources, burying my waste at least six inches deep or packing it out in a waste bag, and carrying out my toilet paper.

  • To respect Rocky’s wild creatures and to protect myself, I pledge to watch wildlife from a distance that doesn’t disturb them in any way. I will never feed an animal—doing so causes it harm.

  • To respect history, heritage, and natural processes, I pledge to remove nothing from the park except my own and others’ trash. I will leave no trace of my visit so that the next person can experience the same beauty as I did.

  • To keep my pet, wildlife, and other visitors safe, I pledge to keep my leashed pet only on roads, in campgrounds, and in picnic and parking areas. I will never take my dog on Rocky’s trails, meadows, or tundra areas.

  • To preserve them for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations, I pledge to honor, respect, and protect all our national parks and public lands.



We've taken the pledge - how about you? 



Despite the six feet of snow that some areas of the mountains received late this month, 4 out of 5 campgrounds within Rocky Mountain National Park are open and ready! The ever-changing weather is something we love about our state; one day we're buried in snow, the next it's melted and made way for sunshine and warmth..

Because these campgrounds are inside the park itself, the sites are reserved well in advance. Get a jump on it and line everything up for the beginning of summer!

Aspenglen Campground - 54 sites total - 12 tent only - 5 walk to

With equal amounts of shade and sunshine, this campground is popular for family tent camping and RVs alike. There are also several sites that you must walk to which provide a more secluded and serene experience for those looking to get away from the hustle. Seasonal inclusions/services: Firewood and ice for sale, food storage lockers, trash & recycling collection, amphitheater use, staff or volunteer host on site, potable water, and flush toilets. There are no showers at this campground.

Glacier Basin Campground - 147 sites total - 73 tent only - 13 group sites

Enjoy lots of grass, shrubbery and season wildflowers that sprout in nearby meadows. Certain loops have lost nearly all of their trees due to Pine Beetle damage, so be mindful of that when reserving a site in Loops C & D. Group sites are available as well, so you can bring the whole crew! Seasonal inclusions/services include: Dump station, firewood and ice for sale, food storage locker, trash/recycling collection, potable water, staff or volunteer on site, amphitheater use.

Moraine Park Campground 247 sites total - 101 tent only - 49 walk to 

Located near the Beaver Meadows entrance on Highway 36, Moraine Park Campground offers gorgeous views of the park and surrounding mountains and hillsides. If you're looking to explore nearby civilization as well, there are free shuttles that connect the campground to Bear Lake trailheads and Estes Park restaurants and shops. Seasonal services/inclusions include: Dump station, firewood and ice for sale, amphitheater, staff or volunteer on site, potable water, flush toilets, and vault toilets.

Timber Creek Campground 98 sites total

Timber Creek is the only campground on the west side of the park, and is about 8 miles north of the Grand Lake entrance, right along the Colorado River. All sites are first-come, first-served; reservations won't help you here! Due to a Pine Beetle infestation, all the trees were removed from the campground so no shade can be found. Seasonal services/inclusions include: Dump station, firewood for sale, trash/recycling collection, amphitheater, staff or volunteer on site, potable water, and flush toilets. 



Just before Colorado's last snowstorm rolled through, Bill Sycalik from New York City was running through Rocky Mountain National Park on his quest to complete what he calls a "life experience project"; to run a 26.2 mile personal marathon in all 59 U.S. national parks.

"When I left New York City, I never thought that I would ever do anything like this," Sycalik said. "I never thought that I would break out of that typical corporate lifestyle."

He was unhappy living in the big apple, where he felt detached from nature and all of the wilderness that he enjoyed most. In an effort to push past his own limits and reconnect with the great outdoors, he decided to get back to his love for trail-running and visit as many national parks as he could in the process. But that wasn't quite challenging enough for Sycalik..

Instead, he decided he would run a 26.2 mile personal marathon through each of the parks on a course of he designed with the help of park rangers and topographers.

(Video Credit: Bill Sycalik)

For those of us who do not run marathons regularly, the entire feat is very impressive. Sycalik emphasizes that truly anyone has the ability and grit to complete a marathon! Transferring your movement over to a trail instead of a paved track is when the entire thing goes from mundane to magical.

"It gives you an energy that you don't get running in a gym..", he says.

But no one said it was easy. People train for marathons, and it's worthwhile to note that it takes practice and repetition, like everything else in life. Find someone to help coach you and begin slowly conditioning yourself, working up to that 26.2 mile marker. Approaching it expecting immediate results will likely discourage you from continuing on at all.

Running in the outdoors and along uneven terrain is excellent for the body, too. Not only is it more physically stimulating but mentally stimulating as well. "You're part of nature," Sycalik says. "You're actually part of the surroundings, as we had been for thousands of years, but we've forgotten about it. And it gets you connected to that again."

During his run through Rocky Mountain National Park, he encountered some of Colorado's wildlife, including deer, elk, bison and bears. In the coming days, pictures from his trip to RMNP will be added to other galleries of the beautiful places he's been on this trip.

(Photo Credits: Bill Sycalik)

Once his journey is complete and all the national parks have been visited, Sycalik plans to settle in the Denver area and remain close to friends. His dream would be to work in an industry he is passionate about, such as outdoor clothing or vegan nutrition.

We'll look forward to welcoming someone to our colorful state that is so clearly Colorado at heart!



Mark your calendars, because May 19th is Endangered Species Day; a time to recognize national conservation efforts to protect our nation's endangered species and their habitats. Established in 2006 by the US Congress, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of our wildlife and wild places. The goal is to highlight the importance of continued protection and ways we can all help to rehabilitate threatened and endangered animal and plant species.

Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, hundreds of species have been saved from extinction, and many more continue to thrive thanks to the act. Rocky Mountain National Park invites anyone and everyone to attend a special program at 7pm on Friday, May 19th at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center.They'll be showing the award-winning film, Racing Extinction, to spread awareness on the international wildlife trade. Viewers will also see how ordinary people do extraordinary things to save vulnerable species on the land and in the sea.

For more information about the event, please contact the park's Information Center at 970-586-1206.



There's a brand new bluegrass festival in town! If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, head up to Estes Park for their inaugural Mountain Music Festival on Saturday, May 13th from 12 - 9pm. Held in the Estes Park Events Complex, this festival will feature both national and local bands, and promises to be a great time for everyone.

The event is a fundraising effort for the Estes Park School District's various music programs, which include the state champion marching bands, middle and high school bands, middle and high school choirs, and elementary music programs. It is truly a grass-roots effort, organized for and by the community of Estes Park. Community sponsors include The Rock Inn, Snowy Peaks Winery, Twin Owls Steakhouse, Rock Creek Tavern & Pizzeria, Inwell & Brew, Estes Park News, and many more. The festival's aim is to combat low funding in music programs and get ahead of the ever-increasing costs of such programs.

"There is a large body of evidence showing that a quality music program raises test scores, (and supports) higher level thinking and performance in many other core areas, as well as social inclusion," says Cynda Basch, Estes Park High School secretary. 

Estes Park's Mountain Music Festival lineup is below...

Front Country  - Headliner, Americana

Rapidgrass - High-Energy Bluegrass 

Bonnie and the Clydes - Rocky Mountain Country Soul 

Chain Station High-Energy String Band 

Monocle Band - Bluegrass Fusion 

Bella Betts and Will Thomas - Bluegrass Prodigies 

Tickets are available for purchase HERE online. Want to make it into a weekend getaway? Click HERE to check out local lodging options that allow you to soak up the Estes sun all weekend long.



Rocky Mountain National Park is home to black bears, which are also the largest and least frequently seen mammals within the park. There are an estimated 20-35 bears currently living in RMNP, but previous studies have shown that the park is a poor habit for them, naturally speaking. It's believed that the area was attractive to the animals because hunting remains prohibited within the boundaries. Bears do what bears do; they eat lots of wild fruits that grow within the park, such as choke cherries, currants, raspberries, grapes and juniper berries. Afterwards, well.. They do what nearly every other living thing does.

RMNP rangers decided to try something new this year, and used the abundance of bear scat to the park's advantage!

A member of the park's vegetation restoration crew collected scat throughout the park last fall, and volunteers took time planting it in the park's greenhouses. No one was sure what exactly would come of it, if anything - but there truly was no downside to this experiment. Everyone was pleasantly surprised when the seedlings began sprouting, which have now reached a count of over 1,200 total.

"Animals are great seed dispersers and of course, what does in one way goes out the other," the park said on it's Facebook page. "After defecation, seeds are left in a rich, moist medium that nourishes the growing seedling."

Most of the seedlings appear to be Oregon-grape and chokecherry, which was a surprise to the team. Chokecherry has a very thick, hard seed coat that is difficult to germinate in typical greenhouse conditions. Thanks to their trip through a bear's digestive system beforehand, that coat was broken down in the process, allowing for successful growth.

The plan is to plant the Oregon Grape seedlings in an effort to rehabilitate the areas disturbed during the replacement of the park's main waterline in 2016.

If you dream of being a volunteer at the Rocky Mountain National Park, click HERE and take the next steps! There are opportunities for individuals and groups alike, and they are always in need of help and community involvement.

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Trail Ridge Road Open to Cyclists

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Trail Ridge Road Open to Cyclists

Attention, everyone! Trail Ridge Road is officially open to cyclists, though travel on it at your own risk; park officials are warning that conditions may still be a bit tricky to navigate. Trail Ridge Road connects Estes Park to the west and Grand Lake to the west, and is the highest continues paved road in the United States. The scenic route reaches elevations of 12,183 feet and provides beautiful views for anyone traveling it - and if you decide to adventure out on that great road... Be prepared for strong winds and weather that could change at a moment's notice, especially at this time of year. Officials close it down during the winter months due to snow and dangerous conditions. If you want to check in on current conditions, call 970-586-1222 for the most up-to-date information. Not interested in making the journey yourself? Live vicariously through others and check out this first-hand account of what cycling Trail Ridge Road is like.
Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Avalanche Beacon Training

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Avalanche Beacon Training

Back country exploration and camping is very common in Rocky Mountain National Park. With that in mind, the rangers have created a place to safely educate everyone on avalanche beacons! Knowing how to use an properly can save your life, as well as someone else's...

The park is open 24/7 for back country enthusiasts to further hone their skills, but make sure you and your party are prepared; there are no rangers there. It was intended to provide people who already own and know how to use avalanche beacons a place for gain more field experience.

"They can go up there they can flip on a switch and turn on one to eight different transceivers in order to practice those skills in recovery and finding those people who are buried."

- Mike Lukens, a climbing ranger with RMNP

You won't have time to think about what you're doing if you're ever in the back country and yourself or someone you're with is buried in snow. Ideally, you'll go into auto pilot and your brain will kick in, drawing from your practice, in an efficient manner. After all, you only have about 15 minutes to get someone safely out of snowpack. Time is truly of the essence in this sort of situation!

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Boulder Philharmonic Debuts RMNP Music

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Boulder Philharmonic Debuts RMNP Music

Composer Stephen Lias,like many others in all walks of life, draws inspiration from the great outdoors to create beautiful art in the form of musical masterpieces. The only difference is that his gaze is a bit more specific and focused - on national parks, to be specific!

Included in his dozens of compositions are pieces created thanks to our very own Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde national parks, alongside many more from around the United States.

This Saturday, March 25th at 7:30pm, the Boulder Philharmonic will debut the composer's newest piece, fondly dubbed "All the Songs That Nature Sings", after writings by Enos Mills, who's considered to be the father of the Rocky Mountain National Park by many. Though there are a very limited number of seats still available for the premier, you can buy tickets HERE. And if you'd prefer to listen to the full concert from the comfort of your home, take advantage of CPR's (Colorado Public Radio) live broadcast!

After the concert, the Boulder Philharmonic travels to Washington, D.C. to perform the complete program at the Kennedy Center's SHIFT event; a festival that showcases innovate American orchestras.

We're inspired and in awe of the beauty all over this state, but we must agree with composer Lias - Rocky Mountain National Park is quite special...

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Firewood Lottery!

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Firewood Lottery!

What if you could win firewood straight from Rocky Mountain National Park? Now you have the chance! Over 100 permits will be granted via a lottery to claim wood that has been previously cut from the forest. If chosen through the lottery, you will be limited to one cord of firewood, which can be picked up by appointment near Moraine Park.

If you're interested, here's what you need to do...

1.) Email now through 8am on March 27th. In the subject line of the email, type your last name, then first name in the following format: Smith, John.

2.) In the body of the email, type your full name, home address and phone number.

And then you're officially entered!

If you're selected, you'll be contacted by the RMNP staff to set up an appointment. You'll need to receive a vehicle and gear inspection, obtain the permit, go through an orientation to wood gathering and then gather your wood.

Please note a couple of things... First, if selected, a $20 non-refundable fee will be charged to claim the permit. Second, most of the wood will require a chainsaw - it hasn't been cut into smaller more  manageable pieces.

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Backpacking Permits Now Available

Rocky Mountain National Park Series – Backpacking Permits Now Available

What better way to relax after a long workweek than escaping to the solitude and peace of Rocky Mountain National Park? Today is the official first day to make reservations for a summer backpacking trip! There's nothing quite like unplugging from the world - technology, stressors, workplace issues and everyday troubles - and soaking in some nature instead.

Though you can certainly take a day trip up, overnight backpacking is not allowed without a permit. You can register by either visiting the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center of Kawuneeche Visitor Center in person.

Click HERE for a map of all the available campsites, a recent availability list and a request application, along with all the other information you'd need for your trip!



Over the last 100 years, people have continued to visit Rocky Mountain National Parks (and other parks countrywide) for the same reasons; to enjoy solitude, to experience the beauty of nature, to soak in the scenery, watch wildlife, adventure, explore and join in on outdoor recreational activities. If you're like most Coloradans, you love the snow... But you're just about ready for warmer weather up in the park! Now is the time to prepare yourself for spring and summer trips, so we've compiled your list of must-know's to ensure your visit is fantastic...

Hike Early

By hiking earlier in the morning, you have a much better chance of finding parking without too much hassle. Trailhead parking lots tend to fill up early in the day; Wild Basin Corridor by 9:30am, Bear Lake Trailhead by 8:30am, Glacier Gorge Trailhead by 8:30am, Park and Ride by 10:30am.


Once again, parking can be a huge challenge for visitors. Try to take a larger vehicle that can accommodate your entire group! That way you can also keep all your snacks in one place for the drive home...

Reserve Campsites Now

Camping is very popular in Rocky Mountain National Park, so it's best to reserve your campsites early in the year. Most can be reserved up to 6 months before you plan to visit! The two first-come, first-served campgrounds tend to fill up exceptionally fast, while the Timber Creek Campground on the west side of the park becomes full last.

Weekend or Weekday?

In September, visitation rates are consistently 50% higher on weekend than weekdays. If you're able to get a Tuesday off from the office and take the kiddos up into the wild, you'll enjoy a much more calm experience.

Check the Weather Forecast

If you arrive midday to the park and plan on any extensive hiking, it is absolutely critical that you know the weather forecast for the elevation of your destination. The Rocky Mountains are notorious for extreme weather patterns, and you wouldn't want to find yourself stuck at high elevations when the lightning begins.

ENTER TO WIN an annual pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, courtesy of The Winning Team Real Estate Group! The winner will be announced on Facebook at the end of March.

Click HERE to find out how...

Motivational Monday – Beyond the Rockies

Though we love the Rocky Mountains and all of their wilderness, there are many other beautiful places throughout Colorado. But it can be difficult to see them all from the best angle, which is where filming drones come in! A bird's eye view allows you to see things from a new perspective, and sometimes that's all we need.

(Video Credit: DJI Inspire 1 | Chroma 4K)

If you're in need of a perspective shift, there are 5 steps you can take...

  1. What is the challenge you're facing? To make it to the end, you need to know where you're starting from. Visualize yourself in the situation that you're dealing with - hear it, feel it and see it. Conjure up every detail you can to make it more real.

  2. Expand it. The problem with only seeing things one way is that it's limited. Imagine you're going further and further from yourself and your challenge, until you're looking down at it from a complete bird's eye view. Focus on everyone else involved, and try to see it in it's entirety. What do you see that you haven't before? Does your perspective change from way up there?

  3. Leave Earth behind. Imagine you're traveling even farther, past the atmosphere and into outer space. From way out there, what do you notice and how do you feel? What changes are there in your stress level as the challenge becomes further and further away?

  4. Come back home. When you're ready, begin coming back towards the problem. As you return, go into the bodies of others involved before coming back into your own. See the situation from their viewpoint, no matter how difficult it is. What do you learn? Finally, come back into your own self. How have things now changed for you?

  5. Take action. We usually cannot change other people but we can change what we do and how we react to others around us. What will you do next?

Biennial Research Conference 2017

Biennial Research Conference 2017

On March 1st & 2nd, members of the public and science communities alike will gather at the Estes Park Town Hall for Rocky Mountain National Park's 2017 Biennial Research Conference - "People and Stewardship: Using Research for Management." The conference focuses on celebrating research at Rocky Mountain National Park, among other things; providing a place research and park staff can share their discoveries and creating opportunities for young scientific professionals and the public to connect with park staff and one another.

The park hosts on of the largest research programs, which keeps 0ver 100 research permits active each and every year. This year, more than 100 scientists are expected to attend the event to discuss various research projects and approaches!

If you'd like to attend, feel free - the conference is open to anyone interested and is free; no registration is required. Sessions will begin on March 1st at 8:15am, and will end by 4pm each day. Wednesday will include topics such as visitor use, youth relevancy, wetlands and rivers, and the Grand Ditch breach restoration. Attendees will see presentations on Longs Peak history, citizen sciences, streams, student projects, willow restoration and monitoring visitor use. Thursday will focus on vegetation, environmental contaminants, archaeology, wildlife, and public health. Presentations are on things like ice patch archaeology, sub-alpine forests, invasive species,, air quality, restoration, birds, ticks, elk and even toads.

For more information, call the park's Information Office at 970-586-1206.



Luckily, there are many ways you can stay in touch with the park wherever you might be by becoming a 'virtual visitor'! Rocky Mountain National Park aims to keep park-lovers involved all throughout the year by providing webcam views, video presentations, and active social media platforms. Check out all the different ways to get a glimpse of the park, whether you're a thousand miles away or stuck in the office...


Longs Peak

This webcam will give you views from the tallest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. From an elevation of 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is a challenging climb for anyone to make - even in the best of conditions. If you want to learn more, click HEREP.s.... If the picture is blurry, that means it's pretty windy up there! Though the camera is focused correctly, high winds have been known to impact the picture.)

Alpine Visitor Center

Now in 'winter operation mode', this camera takes a picture in the morning, midday and afternoon. The Alpine Visitor Center is located at 11,796 feet, and provides a glimpse at the alpine tundra surrounding it. Often times the view is obstructed by frost and snow! From this camera you can see part of Trail Ridge, Old Fall River Road, Fall River Canyon and Mount Chapin.

Fall River/US 34 Entrance

Just west of Estes Park on Highway 34, this view looks east from the entrance of the station and lets you check out the flow of vehicles entering the park.

Continental Divide

If you're checking out this cam on a beautiful, clear day, you will see Hallett Peak, Flattop Mountain, Taylor Peak, Otis Peak and Thatchtop. The camera is located at Glacier Basin Campground, with views that rise up from Bear Lake. Check it out!

Kawuneeche Valley

A half mile from the Grand Lake Entrance station on the west side of the Rocky Mountain National Park, this one will let you look upon the wildlife and wildflowers in Kawuneeche Valley.

Beaver Meadows/US 36 Entrance

You'll be able to see the number of people entering the park from this camera too, which sits just west of Estes Park on Highway 36.

Photo Galleries

On the Rocky Mountain National Park website, you'll find albums to 'ooh' and 'ah' over, such as: winterwildflowerslakes and waterfallsLongs Peak,trees, park scenery and National Park Service Centennial.

Multimedia Presentations

Check out audio and video presentations about the park, including:

Living With Fire

This video is all about fire and the role it has in shaping the park's development and evolution, shares tips about staying safe and smart when visiting.. Fires are a real part of the Rocky Mountain National Park, and it's best to know how you can survive a wildland fire.

Roaming Rocky Videos

Want some Rocky Mountain 101? Get tips on how to survive in the rugged terrain and plan your visit.

Meet Your Rocky Rangers

You'll get to meet various Rangers, including Snowplow Rangers, Search and Rescue Rangers and Wildlife Biologists, and learn how the role they play is vital to the health of the park.

Science Behind the Scenes

Learn about how scientific research is conducted and expanded upon within the park.

Student Videos

Eagle Rock School explores a unique view of the park, it's resources and the issues that the next generation believes the park will face in the decades to come.

Social Media

Everyone knows that a strong social media presence is essential. Make sure that you follow/subscribe/like all of Rocky Mountain National Parks platforms. In return, they'll reward you with photos, special park programs, videos, up-to-date information on trail conditions, avalanche reports, road statuses and weather reports!





YouTube Channel

Winter Survival Skills Class

Winter Survival Skills Class

If you spend a lot of time in Rocky Mountain national Park in the winter months, or are simply curious about cold weather survival (should the unthinkable ever happen), this is your opportunity! Join the Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute on February 4th to learn about prehistoric, historic and contemporary strategies for surviving in RMNP in winter.

Doug Hill, found and director of Gone Feral School of Primitive and Traditional Skills, will lead the course. At Gone Feral, Hill focuses on experiential learning and aims to connect participants with the natural world. Hill will lead participants through the basics, short and long term survival strategies, and then test their skills outdoors before finishing with shelter building and fire starting in snowy conditions.

If you'd like to register, click HERE or call 970-586-3262. Non-members cost $80, and members cost $76.